13) Nets 113, Hawks 105— Enjoyed listening to this game, with the great Hubie Brown as analyst; it is fun listening to a basketball genius talk about the game.
Flashing back to October 1984, Brown was coaching the Knicks- they had an exhibition game in Glens Falls, an hour north of where I live. Friend and I went up to Glens Falls during day and walk into the Civic Center while the Knicks are practicing.
There is zero security there, we go down on the floor of the arena and sit on the end of the Knicks’ bench; when I stretched my legs, my feet were on the court. We didn’t say a freakin’ word and just watched— no one threw us out, so we stayed until the end.
After practice, I met coach Brown and Knicks’ star Bernard King; that night, Knicks played the Bulls, who had a rookie named Michael Jordan.
All in all, a pretty fun day.
12) Rutgers 70, Purdue 68:
— Ron Harper Jr hit a 35-footer at the buzzer to upset the #1-ranked Boilers.
— Purdue led by 10 with 7:50 left in game.
This is modern college sports: Friday afternoon, Harper posted pics of a t-shirt he is selling to commemorate the upset. With the new NIL rules in college sports, Harper banks the profits from selling those shirts.
11) College football coaching hires
— Virginia hired Clemson OC Tony Elliott as its head coach
— Duke hired Texas A&M DC as its head coach.
In last two weeks, Clemson lost both coordinators and its athletic director.
10) Penn State got good news Friday; QB Sean Clifford will be back next season, his 6th year in college, his fourth year as Penn State’s starting QB
9) MLB Network has put the kibosh on its daily talk shows, they show old games instead, which to me, is a vast improvement over talk shows.
8) Vikings 36, Steelers 28:
— Steelers’ first 7 drives: 33 plays, 79 yards, no points.
— Steelers’ last 6 drives: 37 plays, 293 yards, 28 points.
— Minnesota scored TD or tried FG on seven of first eight drives.
Minnesota led 29-0 late in third quarter; game ended with Steelers throwing pass into end zone that could’ve tied game hard it been caught.
7) Christmas Day 2022 is a Sunday; last time Christmas was on a Sunday, they played a full schedule on Saturday (Christmas Eve) then played two nationally televised games later in the day on Christmas.
I was in Las Vegas that week, remember sitting in the Aria sportsbook and talking to an Asian lady sitting next to me— she counted out $7,700 in cash, then showed me two more bets she had, with a combined $3,500 that were both going to win, so she was sitting on $11,000 or so.
She had a sheet of paper ripped out a notebook with her bets for the 4:00 games; lot of bets. For some reason, she bet on the Rams (this was the year before Sean McVay got there) but from what I could tell, she mostly broke even on all those late bets.
We talked for a while; I asked her, since she was having such a good day, if she wanted to buy me dinner. She answered in a foreign language and left a few minutes later, never to be seen again. I’m assuming her answer was no.
6) So far this season, Syracuse has played schedule #39, a pretty big difference from how they usually schedule; they’ve even played five of nine games away from the Carrier Dome.
Last time Syracuse’s non-league schedule ranked in the top 100 was 2008; last time it ranked in top 150 was 2009.
Why the big change this year? They’re not a deep team (bench minutes #351) and only have three more games before ACC play begins, so that non-conference schedule will finish in the top 100. Am curious to see how it affects their chances on Selection Sunday.
5) Atlanta Braves won the World Series this year; their players/staff cashed in.
Braves split the $32.57M postseason pool into 66 full shares, 14.25 partial shares, and 38 cash awards. Each full share was worth $397,391, third highest ever behind the 2017 Astros ($438,902) and 2018 Red Sox ($416,838).
4) Former big league OF Yasiel Puig is taking his talents to Korea next year; Puig hit .277 in seven years in the majors, but hasn’t been there since 2019.
Mike Tauchman is also headed to the KBO; he hit .284 for Giants/Bronx last year.
Both guys will make $1M next year, the maximum a foreign player can make in the KBO.
3) You know you’re watching an old movie if you see phone booths instead of cellphones.
2) Iowa State 73, Iowa 53:
— Cyclones are 9-0, vs schedule #238; they have four top 70 wins.
— Iowa State has played only one road game, and doesn’t hit the road again until January 8.
— Iowa lost last three games, all to top 50 teams, after a 7-0 start.
— Hawkeyes have only one win against a team ranked higher than #200.
1) Tip of the cap to Brian Williams, who left NBC Thursday after 28 years as a broadcaster. He hosted The 11th Hour for the last 5-6 years; I dislike politics and politicians, but I’ve learned a lot listening to Williams and his guests the last few years. He’ll be missed.